Warped Tour, 8/2/13, Gexa Energy Pavilion: Review and Photos

Categories: Festivals

Mike Brooks

Usually for those hitting up the Warped Tour bright and early in the midday, you don't have to sit in a long line of traffic. Not this year. Traffic for the Summer Adventures at Fair Park bled into the traffic going to Gexa, so a usual short drive turned into almost a half-hour. I missed Mixtapes, a promising young band from Ohio, play the Kevin Says stage.

Planning a day at a festival in 103 degree heat takes some picking and choosing. Motion City Soundtrack? Hell yes. Forever Came Calling? Sure. Acoustic Basement tent? That's a great respite from the heat, metallic guitars, and double-bass beats. There were hours between my must-see acts, so to soak everything else in, I rarely stayed in one place for an extended period of time.

And oh the sights of Warped Tour. There was the Truth dance contest, which is always a hit with teenagers, along with a small group of Hare Krishnas wanting to talk to impressionable youth and maybe sell a book or two. In fact, as far as ambiance goes, the only really noticeable difference this year was the frequent use of hashtags on T-shirts, banners, and even a stage's name. Ah, marketing for the Now! generation, all in hopes of showing some kind of attention to a brand name, no matter how short the amount of attention given.

But enough about the 360-degree marketing. There was music to be heard!

The first band that caught my ear that I wasn't familiar with was Stick to Your Guns. Ending their set on the DOMO stage with a tune that sounded like Thursday, I wanted to hear more. Mere seconds later, Hawthorne Heights started playing the Tilly's stage, which was right next to the DOMO stage. I've never cared for this band's music back when they were on Victory Records -- I found their music strictly for those who have yet to graduate high school. With what I heard from them as a now-independent band wasn't much different

Mike Brooks

Venturing out to one of the large stages, I caught a little of Upon a Burning Body. Though their sound fit the metalcore formula of chugga-chugga guitars, punishing vocals, and pummeling beats, the five-piece was dressed sharply in dark gray suits. They even did a demonic take on "Deep in the Heart of Texas."

To kill some time, I hit up the Lone Star Percussion tent for a drum lesson. Since my last proper drum lesson was at last year's Warped with these guys, I hoped a year of practicing had improved my basics. I came away thinking I should take more than one lesson a year if I ever want to be friends with a metronome.

Motion City Soundtrack began as I did some paradiddles on a practice pad, but they were in a close earshot. They sounded crystal clear with their extremely enjoyable mix of The Cars and The Get Up Kids. Showcasing some new material from their forthcoming album as well as playing classics like "Everything Is Alright," the band is still vital as ever.

An hour later, on the same stage, a massive crowd gathered for Chiodos. When the six-piece played Warped a few years ago, it was one of biggest draws of the day. The same happened again this year, as the band continues to fill a void for those who can't entirely embrace Killswitch Engage or Lamb of God and miss Underoath. Frontman Craig Owens might alternate between singing like a toddler melting down in a Walmart checkout lane or like he's holding his testicles for dear life, but that doesn't stop people from worshiping the ground he and his band walk on.

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